The Best Mac & Cheese

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The Best Mac & Cheese

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Servings 8


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • Salt for cooking pasta
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 3/4 cups warm heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Colby jack cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese shredded
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper add more to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Optional: Chopped parsley or chives grated parmesan for topping


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for one minute less than al dente. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.
  • In a saucepan or pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until it starts to bubble and turns golden yellow.
  • Slowly pour in the warm heavy cream while whisking continuously until smooth. Add the minced garlic, cream cheese, dry mustard powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, nutmeg, cayenne powder, and salt. Whisk until smooth. Cook the sauce for 3 to 4 minutes until it thickens.
  • Reduce the heat to low or remove from heat, then add the sharp cheddar, Colby jack, and smoked gouda. Whisk until there are no clumps and the sauce is smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the sauce immediately. Mix together in a large baking dish.
  • Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Then broil for a few minutes until the top is golden and crispy, keeping a close eye on it.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley or chives, grated parmesan, and enjoy!

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